9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN24 Science and Technology

2009-09-03 09:00:00 2009-09-03 10:30:00 Thursday, 3 September 09:00 - 10:30 Science and Innovation Systems Building AA, AA.225

Materialities and Actors in Knowledge Transfer: Translation in a Portuguese Technology-based Start-up

While differing in their perspective and policy implications, several recent analytical approaches on the role of universities in the innovation process have underlined its central importance. The analysis of the new mode of knowledge production, the triple helix or the innovation systems approaches all highlight the contribution of the university into this process, in what is increasingly considered as the third mission of the university: inducing knowledge-intensive entrepreneurial activities. This mission is also expected to have, more or less explicitly, a particular impact on regional dynamics and territorial development. In this framework, it is of particular importance to understand how the links between academy and market, and the corresponding knowledge transfer mechanisms, are created and sustained.
In this communication, we will focus in particular on analysing the usefulness of the tools provided in the framework of ANT (Actor-Network Theory), by understanding the creation of relationships between academia and industry as a process of translation, in ANT terms. The implications thereof, regarding the identification of languages, problems, interests, and even actors identities, will be analysed. The work is based on a case of a new technology-based spin-off firm, emerging from a Portuguese university. Using the ANT approach, attention will be given to both the role of human and non-human actors and to the development of the process of translation and network building. The analysis will finally consider whether such approach can help us understand the present success of the firm.